Former YouTuber and Current Convicted Child Abuser Ruby Franke Kept a Disturbing Journal

Ruby Franke expressed remorse over the abuse she inflicted upon her children while Jodi Hildebrandt claimed she loved them.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Mar. 25 2024, Updated 12:04 p.m. ET

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt
Source: YouTube/KUTV (video still)

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt

Mommy bloggers are somewhat of a scary field of influencers—they appear to be perfect mothers on social media, but then they prioritize their image over their children. One such mother is Ruby Franke, who was known for her family YouTube channel, 8 Passengers. Later she hosted ConneXions with Jodi Hildebrandt, a licensed therapist.

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Some have called ConneXions a cult, although Hildebrandt and Franke say that their mission was to help people “successfully navigate life and relationships.” But they also call themselves the "moms of truth." Now, both Franke and Hildebrandt in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse. Here's what we know.

What happened to Ruby Franke? She was arrested in August 2023 for child abuse.

The voyeur inside of all of us can’t help but tune into problematic YouTube channels like 8 Passengers. But after Franke told some *questionable* stories, subscribers began noticing potential patterns and signs of child abuse. Franke and her husband, Kevin, have six children together. As of the time of this writing, their oldest Shari is 20 years old, and has since moved out. The youngest, Eve, is just 9 years old.

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On Aug. 30 2023, Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested by the Santa Clara-Ivins Public Safety agency and were each clocked for two counts of aggravated child abuse, intentionally or knowingly. While viewers had been pointing out Franke's signs of being an abuser for years, this was the first time law enforcement got involved. Over 20 officers showed up to arrest the then business partners, which is pretty rare for what is typically a Child Protective Services case.

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The event that led to Franke's arrest was when her 12-year-old son Russell snuck out of Hildebrandt's house, where they were staying. He ended up knocking on a neighbor's door, looking for help. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the "boy had open wounds and duct tape on his wrists and ankles." Authorities also discovered Franke's 10-year-old daughter alone in their home. Both children were taken to the hospital due to severe malnourishment.

In February 2024 Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrant were sentenced to 4 to 60 years in prison.

ABC News reported that Franke and Hildebrandt struck a plea deal with the state where they "admitted to inflicting or allowing another adult to inflict serious physical injuries upon Franke's children between May and August 2023." Prior to sentencing, Franke read a statement to the court where she partially blamed Hildebrandt for her actions, claiming she was led into a "dark delusion."

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Eventually she took responsibility for her actions but not before Franke made it abundantly clear that Hildebrandt was never a business partner in the sense that Franke was never her employee and never received compensation for anything she did. Hildebrandt was "employed as my son's counselor, in 2019 and in 2020, I paid her to be my mentor," said Franke. "It is important to me to demonstrate my remorse and regret without blame ... and it is my preference that I serve a prison sentence."

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In Hildebrandt's own statement she expressed love for Franke's children and explained that her reason for choosing to avoid a trial is because she didn't want the kids to "emotionally relive experiences which would have been detrimental to them." Franke and Hildebrandt were sentenced to "four consecutive sentences of one to 15 years in prison," in February 2024. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole ultimately decides the amount of time both women will spend in prison.

Franke has a history of abusive behavior towards her children. She documented some of it in her journal.

When Franke was still vlogging through 8 Passengers, she told a story of how 6-year-old Eve forgot to pack up her lunch in the morning and was left without lunch for school. Instead of bringing Eve her lunch or even encouraging other students to share with her, Franke wanted her six-year-old to learn a lesson. She forced her daughter to starve through lunch.

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Ruby Franke, her husband Chad Franke, and their children
Source: YouTube/Law&Crime Network (video still)

Ruby Franke, her husband Chad Franke, and their children

In another video, Franke talks about how she left her three-year-old and five-year-old unsupervised when she took a nap and then blamed them for leaving the floor sticky in the kitchen. All of this led Franke to leave 8 Passengers and pursue her new endeavor, ConneXions. In ConneXions, Franke and Hildebrandt teamed up to encourage parents to discipline their children and take control of their lives.

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In March 2024, the prosecutors from Franke's trial released graphic and disturbing entries from the vlogger's journal, reported NBC News. One excerpt from July 2023 discussed a time when Franke forced one of her children to stand in the sun for several hours. She referred to him as defiant and repeatedly referenced his demon which Franke claimed was the reason why her son felt nothing when she poked him. Later that day she pushed him into a pool and "held her hand 'tightly over his nose & mouth.'"

The following day, Franke and Hildebrandt bathed one of her daughter's in what she called the "dog wash." When she expressed an interest in running away, Hildebrandt told the child she had "no idea what was waiting for her." Beyond the journal entries, police also released "body camera video, photos and interrogation tapes."

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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